April 14, 2016

Governor Pat McCrory
Governor’s Office
1 East Edenton Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

Dear Governor McCrory,

About a decade ago our mutual friend, Parks Helms, invited you to speak to a small gathering of the men of our church. We met at the Tryon House restaurant for breakfast, and our group enjoyed a casual conversation with our Mayor. Since that time I have admired much of your work, but maybe it is because of that experience, a slight sense of personal connection with you, that I have been disappointed with the direction you have taken as our Governor. I am particularly frustrated and saddened with your collusion with our current legislature in the recent special session to overturn a thoughtful provision by the Charlotte City Council that extended common-sense protections to all Charlotteans.

Given our state and national history with legalized discrimination, I simply cannot comprehend that any “representative of the people” would work to actively deny legal protections to all citizens. Legally denying services or failing to extend the benefits of our society to any group of people puts them at risk by implicitly denying their status as full citizens. Failing to protect any people from legalized discrimination will inevitably marginalize them further within our communities, and increase the likelihood they will become victims of emotional harm, if not physical violence. As our Governor, you have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all of us, as well as the right of equal access to all the benefits that are due to North Carolinians. Signing House Bill 2 fails that responsibility for a segment of our state’s population – and, therefore, it fails us all.

The way this law was enacted, hastily and outside the normal legislative process, is disturbing. The expansive overreach of the law, denying local governments the ability to govern, denying due process of law within the state, etc… is egregious. A recent article in the “Wall Street Journal” quotes you as being “shocked” at the immediate backlash to the law. I would have been embarrassed to admit that. How could you be surprised that a law denying rights would be offensive? Given the volatile and polarized nature of the national electorate these days, how could you possibly be surprised that such a disenfranchisement of the LGBTQ community would be anything but newsworthy – to say the least?

As a constituent of your state, a fellow Charlottean, a member of the “household of faith,” I am disappointed in your support of this unjust law – and I am, perhaps even more disturbed, that your recent decision, so quickly rolling back some of the provisions you just signed into law are seemingly predicated on the prospect of economic loss. Money speaks, where morality does not?

But, since you are apparently reconsidering your decision, I hope you will also reflect on the silliness of the bathroom issue. Governor McCrory, how do you actually expect that provision in the law to be enforced? Do you really want the woman who stood with me at a recent press conference, wearing a pink dress, high heels, makeup and long, curled hair, to use the rest room with you? Would she really be safe doing so? And, all the men, complete with facial hair and tattoos, whose birth certificates indicate they were born female… will your wife and mine actually feel safer sharing the powder room with them? This is foolishness – motivated by either willful misunderstanding or unwitting fear.

There are more than 200 US cities with anti-discrimination laws on their books – and there is no indication of an increase to the predation of children due to those laws. There are predators in the world. We must be ever diligent and vigilant to protect our children from them – and we should have the same desire to protect the more than 700,000 transgender citizens who deserve the same security. The “bathroom bill” will not increase the potential of harm to our children (even with this bill, a predator can still dress in disguise to molest, and it will be no more and no less against the law than it ever has been), but I have sincere concerns about the welfare of the gay and transgender communities because of this law, and because of the animosity it has created.

I close by offering my sincere appreciation for your commitment to our state. I do believe that “public service” is the intent of most of our nation’s representatives, and I have no doubt of your motivation to serve. Governing in this day is no easy task, and I do not envy you. Perhaps, however, my discontent, which is shared by a growing segment of the faith community, as well as the significant financial considerations that are mounting, will lead you to reconsider a decision that does not best serve any of North Carolina’s citizens.

Grace and Peace,

Russ Dean
Park Road Baptist Church
Charlotte, NC